Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has voiced his concerns over the festive schedule in England, believing the period is "going to kill the players" after his side played their 10th game in a month on Tuesday against Watford.
Guardiola and his boys returned to winning ways on Tuesday night and moved 15 points clear of second-placed Manchester United with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Watford.
The Spaniard on the players' workload over the festive period said: "What I’ve seen in the last weeks is how many injuries the players have. We are going to kill them. The federation needs to reflect.
"I know the show must go on, but this is not normal. They control us - but we don’t protect the players.
"The people come here to watch the players and enjoy their performances - not the managers in the press conferences or the journalists who write about the game.
"In England, you don’t protect the players. You can’t play every two days. You don’t have to change the festive fixtures, the Boxing Day games and so on, but you can’t play the morning in Selhurst Park, come back, celebrate New Year’s Eve, and then play two days later.
"The show must go on and we try - the physios, doctors, nutritionist - to protect them. The tradition is the tradition, but we have to think about it a little bit. The players are artists and they are the reason we are here." said Guardiola on the Cityzens' website
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss welcomed back David Silva, John Stones and Fabian Delph returned to first-team action on Tuesday while Kevin De Bruyne was passed fit despite being carried of
against Crystal Palace barely 48 hours earlier.
Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero were promoted from the bench as the Guardiola fielded something close to his strongest starting XI against the Hornets.